Man Fishing

Passing along the beach of Lake Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew net-fishing. Fishing was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions. They dropped their nets and followed.

A dozen yards or so down the beach, he saw the brothers James and John, Zebedee’s sons. They were in the boat, mending their fishnets. Right off, he made the same offer. Immediately, they left their father Zebedee, the boat, and the hired hands, and followed.

Then they entered Capernaum. When the Sabbath arrived, Jesus lost no time in getting to the meeting place. He spent the day there teaching. They were surprised at his teaching—so forthright, so confident—not quibbling and quoting like the religion scholars. (Mark 1:16-22)

Jesus was not a hypnotist. Jesus already had a relationship with those he finally called to be his disciples. They had heard John the Baptist proclaim him the Messiah, and they had heard him speak. Certainly they were leaving behind their businesses, their jobs, their livelihood, but they believed they were making a good choice. In their minds, they believed they were joining up with the future king of Israel—of the world—and that they were getting in on the ground floor. For them, it was a no-brainer. Certainly, as fishermen, they were prosperous and comfortable. But being part of the future royal house would be far better in the long run. They knew the story of David, and how those who had followed him early when he was still on the run from Saul, later gained status and immense wealth.

They did not believe they were sacrificing anything by becoming Jesus’ disciples. After Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit, they understood that Jesus had not come to establish the physical kingdom they had expected. But they realized that the deal they had made was even better than what they had thought. They had joined not a temporary, earthly position of authority and wealth. Instead, they had joined the household of God himself for all eternity. Following Jesus is the best decision you can ever make. You’re not sacrificing anything at all: you’re gaining everything.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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